4 Defenses to Employee Defamation Claims

ThinkstockPhotos-469838082The Recorder reports an uptick in defamation claims by fired employees. These claims are often in the form of plaintiffs saying that their bosses gave others false reasons for their firing. These types of claims strike fear in the hearts of employers, but employers do have some powerful defenses to call upon. Continue reading

Play Fair: Guidelines for New Employees Hired from a Competitor

505283113It’s common for customers or clients to want to stick with the person who has been handling their account even when that person moves to a different company. But this situation can create serious issues around trade secrets and unfair competition. So, whenever you hire someone from a competitor, give that new employee guidelines to follow—it will save everyone legal headaches. Continue reading

An Overall Victory for Employers in Mixed-Motives Cases

The following is a guest blog post by Jeffrey Osofsky, an attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles with a practice focusing on defending employers and individual managers against employment-based lawsuits. Mr. Osofsky wishes to thank Munger Tolles Partner Terry Sanchez for his assistance with this post.

stress_160488269California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act generally prohibits employers from basing their employment decisions on certain protected characteristics (race, sex, pregnancy, etc.). But what happens when an employer sued for discrimination can show that, despite any unlawful consideration, it would have reached the same decision about that employee anyway?  Continue reading

6 Steps to Evaluate a Wrongful Termination Case

A potential client comes to you complaining that he or she was wrongfully fired. Before jumping to grab your retainer agreement, be sure this is a case you really want to take. Continue reading

Employees on Lease

You know about leasing cars, but do you know about leasing employees? It’s generally the same idea: you get the benefits without a lot of the downsides, for a price. Continue reading

10 Things to Include in an Employer Meal Break Policy

The much-anticipated California Supreme Court’s decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (Hohnbaum) (Apr. 12, 2012, S166360) came down largely on the side of employers: Among other conclusions, the court held that employers are under no obligation to ensure that workers take legally mandated meal breaks. But this doesn’t mean that employers are completely off the hook — they should still have a written policy informing employees of their rights and obligations with regard to meal periods. Continue reading

Privacy for Employees’ Personal Emails — It’s All in the Policy

Do you or your employees check personal email from work computers? Probably so, as most of us do it at least occasionally. Are those personal emails actually private? The law in California is clear that employers can limit or even completely prohibit personal and Internet use on company computers. See TBG Ins. Servs. Corp. v Superior Court (2002) 96 CA4th 443, 452, 117 CR2d 155. But what if the employer does not prohibit employees from making personal use of its computers — does the employee have any expectation of privacy in emails sent from his or her personal email account while on the company computer? Continue reading

Added Restrictions on Employer Use of Credit Reports Vetoed by Governor, Again

 Governor Schwarzenegger has again vetoed a bill that would have limited employers’ use of credit information on potential employees. As reported in the Morrison & Foerster Client Alert, Assembly Bill 482 “would have dramatically restricted the circumstances under which an employer could use a credit report for pre-employment screening or other employment purposes.” Employees and potential employees can nonetheless take heart in existing protections under the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act (CCRAA) (CC §§1785.1-1785.36). Continue reading

California Supreme Court Clarifies Definition of “Employer,” but Farmworkers Walk Away Emptyhanded

After languishing on the California Supreme Court’s docket for 6 years, Martinez v Combs (2010) 2010 Cal Lexis 4660 has finally been decided, and it is a historic decision. At the heart of the case is an issue that has not been clarified by the courts for nearly 100 years: Who qualifies as an “employer” under the state Industrial Welfare Commission’s (IWC’s) wage orders? Continue reading